I was sooo nervous for this one. Like not sleeping, jittery, having to do that visualization exercise every hour kind of nervous. This was my first big race since I’d gotten into mountain biking and I knew there were going to be some tough women there. Not to mention a ton of tough guys and a tough course. This was going to be my chance to show myself what I was made of. To give it everything. I’d already done the course once with Justin and rode it in 6 hours 30 minutes including about 30 or so minutes of breaks and some turning around and riding sections again (like the roots on Old Copper Road). I thought if I raced right and stayed strong that I may have a podium finish.
We were very prepared – had preridden, had eaten really well (thank you Serenbe Farms), and felt tapered and well rested. We stayed at a great little cabin through Cuddle Up Cabins in Copperhill. Bosco came with us and enjoyed the fenced backyard of our cabin.
Friday we picked up our race packets, shirts, and swanky Osprey hydration packs (that I’ll be ashamed to wear since I didn’t start the race). And we headed back for a carbohydrate / protein driven delicious farm fresh supper. Some stretching, last minute bike tuning, packing race nutrition, we were ready.
Well, all plans can fail. The rain set in on Friday evening. We’d been watching reports that had called for between 2 and 5 inches. Maybe it was the tin roof on our cabin or maybe it was truly insanity, it rained and rained and rained and rained. After our last Chewalca rainy race experience (the last race we did), we vowed not to do another rainy race on our nice bikes. That meant that we should build bikes for ourselves out of all of our scraps specifically for the rain. Too late – it was to be a cold, rainy race.
We had our alarm set for 4 am so we could digest a nice big breakfast and still make Justin’s 7 am start time (he was planning to race the Cohutta 100). At 4 am the thunder, lightning, and huge raindrops stalled us. Snooze for 10 minutes. Wake again. Head downstairs. I was determined. I put on water for coffee, started the oven. Checked the radar. Holy shit – there’s a storm system to be on top of us for the next 48 hours. Great. Okay, turn off the stove, climb back into bed for some real sleep (hadn’t slept much since I rode the course in my mind about 45 times and tossed and turned). And I actually slept.
It’s a funny thing for Justin and me to relax. I’m not sure we know how to do it. We had different feelings about not doing the race. We were disappointed in ourselves for not taking the plunge. Knowing that it would save us money and time in the end in addition to potential misery (see these blog reports: Cohutta 100: UnRace Report, Greg Rides Trails: Cohutta 100: DNF). Here are the results (note all the DNF and DNSs).
We succumbed to the relaxation urges. We went to Blue Ridge and walked around and ate lunch. We drove up to Brasstown Bald and hiked the ½ mile to the top. We froze in the wind and rain and agreed that we’d made a good decision. Bosco thought so too.
After enjoying a few beers and the nice screened in porch we wondered why we tackle such difficult endeavors in the first place when rocking in a rocking chair is perfectly nice. Quickly we snapped out of that thought process and started planning our next big adventure.